Canadian Criminal Procedure and Practice/Search and Seizure/Warrantless Searches/Abandoned Property

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Principles[edit]

A person gives up their reasonable expectation to privacy when their property becomes abandoned.[1]

The main issue is whether the claimant "acted in relation to the subject matter of his privacy claim in such a manner as to lead a reasonable and independent observer to conclude that his continued assertion of a privacy interest is unreasonable in the totality of the circumstances." This is found as a matter of fact.[2]

A main point of litigation is over whether the officer had grounds to believe that the property was abandoned. This is particularly true where the information is based on hearsay or assumptions.

Case Digests[edit]

  • R. v. Stevens, 2012 ONCA 307 - Throwing a firearm out the window into a neighbour's yard is a form of abandonment

References[edit]

  1. R. v. Patrick, 2003 SCC 17 at para. 22-23, 25
  2. Patrick at 25